Home Outreach Leaders An Invitation to the Church This Father’s Day

An Invitation to the Church This Father’s Day

Father's Day

Christians often intuitively understand the role of fathers. We appreciate how earthly fathers are tangible examples of the heart of our Heavenly Father, the one who loves us unconditionally. Here in the U.S., we even set aside a day to honor fathers each June, those who have helped guide and nurture us into the people we are today. 

As both a biological and adoptive father, I know firsthand how our presence is invaluable in a child’s life. Not only does it help shape their view of God, but a loving father can alter the trajectory of a child’s future. We don’t have to be perfect, simply present. 

The tragic truth, of course, is that not all children have a father figure in their lives. This Father’s Day, I can’t help but think about the estimated 5 to 8 million children worldwide who live in residential care facilities, like orphanages or children’s homes. That’s 5 to 8 million children living in facilities without the consistent, protective presence of a father. Many assume that children in orphanages don’t have a father or mother, but global statistics suggest that an estimated 80% actually have at least one living parent. 

At World Orphans, we believe children belong in families, and we know those statistics can change. Our mission is to preserve and strengthen families by equipping, inspiring, and mobilizing the church to care for orphans and vulnerable children through church partnerships. We want to see the church engaged, families strong, children restored, and communities transformed by the gospel of Christ. 

Our work has taught us that so many of the children living in residential facilities can grow up within a strong family. While many U.S. Christians with the best of intentions fund orphanages as a way to help vulnerable children, we have seen how restoring a father’s dignity through family-strengthening programs can instead help keep a family together long-term. 

Fathers play a pivotal role in both the physical and spiritual provision for their children. Fathers, albeit imperfectly, have the opportunity to be a picture of who God is and show what he cares about. Our presence casts a vision for the future, one that, with support, can become a child’s reality. 

But there are many vulnerable families worldwide who are struggling to care for their children. 

I am reminded of Tsafe, a single father of two children in Ethiopia. The average person in Ethiopia lives on only a few dollars per day. Living in poverty, Tsafe had limited means of providing financially for his kids. In situations like this, sending a child to a residential facility can seem like a viable option for ensuring they get food, clothing, medical care and access to education. Tsafe was desperate for support for his children.

There are many reasons parents struggle to provide for their families, but poverty is often the underlying reason. Families in poverty who then experience a crisis or new challenges can be forced to consider an orphanage as a solution to their situation. 

Imagine the stress of providing for the expenses of rent, food, clothing and education. Compound that with the crisis of a sickness, medical needs, or civil conflict. Additionally, dignity is lost when fathers can’t support their families, and unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for individuals in crisis to cope with their circumstances through addiction, abuse, abandonment, or neglect. 

But research shows that children grow best in families. 

I’m proud to share, through the church in his local area, Tsafe received immediate support in order to keep his children with him. He also eventually entered a microloan program which educated him about finances and stewardship. Then, he created a business plan and received a loan. He worked hard running a vegetable business, earning a living to support his family. Four years later, Tsafe graduated from the program, and his children are thriving. Tsafe is overjoyed to graduate because his spot is now open for someone else’s life to change.